Thursday, October 27, 2022

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Happy late October to you, friends! It's been beautiful autumn weather in my part of the world, interspersed with some gloomy rainy days, but to be honest I love all of it! It's getting closer to cozy season, to be sure. 

In our Byzantine journey (interspersed with still quite a lot of Latin rite devotions, because that's how I roll, it appears) we're trucking contentedly along in our post-Pentecost timeline, towards...Advent? 


Yes, Advent! I know that the traditions leading up to Christmas are somewhat different in the East, so I'm learning as I go here. :-0 There is an Advent fast in the Eastern tradition, and it begins earlier than I'm used to, so lots of details on that to come!

But in the meantime, we were back at Divine Liturgy for the Twentieth Sunday following Pentecost. The Gospel this week in the Byzantine rite was from Luke 6, the tale of the woe of the rich man. Father spoke about how we should strive to be rich in faith and in our relationship with Christ. It was wonderful to be back in that worship space and into the rhythms of the Divine Liturgy. 

Afterwards, we indeed chatted about the upcoming parish Christmas Bazaar, which will be held the Saturday before Thanksgiving. All of us are looking forward to helping out and also partaking of the delicious homemade Ukrainian food that will be for sale there! We need to come up with a basket theme idea for the raffle. 🤔

By the way, the cycle of readings is different in the Byzantine rite than it is in the Latin rite, and I've done a bit of snooping on this point. I purchased the book pictured in this post, published by SVS Press, so that I could follow along with the liturgy readings at home on weeks where we attend Mass or if I want a preview before going to Divine Liturgy. There are no Old Testament readings during the liturgy in the Byzantine rite, just New Testament epistles/letters and a Gospel reading, and the cycle of daily readings moves through all of these in a single year. Interesting, yes?

I'm VERY excited about this Advent fast coming up, which begins in mid-November in the Eastern tradition. Expect excitement to come! 🥳

Friday, October 21, 2022

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Hello all! So glad to have you with me along on this Byzantine journey. This week, I don't have a particularly Byzantine-y post, as Anne and I took a Mom & Me road trip to the NY Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY, and thus we were traveling during our usual Divine Liturgy time:

She loves car selfies, as you can tell :-0

We had a marvelous time, but it was one of those weeks that we had to hit the easy button and find a Latin rite parish where we could quickly slip in for Mass. So no specifically Byzantine content this week, but these opportunities to move back and forth between worshipping in both the Byzantine and Latin rite liturgies is informative in it's own way. I love both traditions, that is definitely becoming clearer and clearer. And I'm increasingly becoming more and more comfortable in both, without things being so lopsided as when I first started attending Divine Liturgy. It's nice to not feel like such a fish out of water over there, and the liturgy makes my heart sing, but at the same time, attending Mass is like a comfy, warm blanket. I'm used to it in the best possible way, and it fits around me so well. I'm grateful that as a Catholic, I can have both!

This Sunday, we're back to the Byzantine rite parish, and I'm certain that talk of the upcoming Christmas Bazaar will abound. I'll have updates next week! Until then, here's some of our new sheep friends from the festival:

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost...

It's nearly mid-October, friends, and I can hardly believe how time is flying! It's my son's senior year of high school 😳 and I feel like I'm desperately trying to stop up the hourglass from letting the sands of time fall through. It's a season of transition, for sure.  

In our Byzantine journey this week, Henry was actually out of town for a cross country invitational, so it was just Anne and I heading to Divine Liturgy. As we settled into our pew, I reflected again that my favorite part of this whole journey East is the language of the liturgy itself. I also love the beeswax candles, the iconography and all of the new saints and traditions I'm learning about, but the liturgy has my heart. One of my very favorite moments in the liturgy is the Prayer before Holy Communion:

I believe, O Lord, and confess that You are truly Christ, the Son of the living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am first. 

Accept me this day, O Son of God, as a partaker of Your mystical Supper. I will not tell Your Mystery to Your enemies, nor will I give You a kiss as did Judas, but like the thief, I confess to You: 

† Remember me, O Lord, when You come into Your kingdom. 

† Remember me, O Master, when You come into Your kingdom. 

† Remember me, O Holy One, when You come into Your kingdom. 

May the partaking of Your Holy Mysteries, O Lord, be unto me not for judgment or condemnation, but for the healing of soul and body. 

† God, be merciful to me, a sinner. 

† God, cleanse me of my sins and have mercy on me. 

† I have sinned without number, forgive me, O Lord.

And after we return from receiving Our Lord, the first words spoken are:

Priest: Save Your people, O God, and bless Your inheritance. 

Choir: We have seen the true light. We have received the heavenly Spirit. We have found the true faith. We worship the undivided Trinity for having saved us.

I noticed this past week that at one point, one of the pages in my little Eastern missal stuck to another one, and as I flipped to the "next" page, I immediately recognized that what I was looking at could not possibly be the words we were to speak next. We were missing important material! Then I saw that a ripped page in my missal had caused the snag, and it all made sense. I'm actually starting to memorize portions of the liturgy, and it's feeling more and more comfortable to participate in it. It's a lovely feeling. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

Hello friends! We're steadily plugging along into the autumn, aren't we? I've noticed from the monthly bulletins we receive at our Byzantine rite parish that we're settling into this post-Pentecost period for a stretch before we get to the next Great Feast in November, so it does feel a bit like the Ordinary Time I'm used to at this time of year. 

This week, it finally wasn't raining, horray! The kids and I headed off to Divine Liturgy, and the first thing we noticed is that Father was wearing blue vestments this week rather than the gold ones he usually wears. I'm not certain of the significance...ok, quick research shows that blue is used for feasts of the Theotokos (which makes sense, blue is her color!), but I'm not sure why that was associated with this past Sunday...ok, I think I finally got it, hee hee! I see on the Byzantine calendar that Saturday October 1st is marked as Protection of the Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary, so it seems likely the blue would pervade the entire weekend. 


Liturgy was lovely, as usual. We're getting more and more used to the responses and cadence of things, and picking up on when to consult the sheet with the weekly Propers on it a bit more. After liturgy, we all gathered out in the hall/entryway to talk about the parish Christmas bazaar next month. They need some help with it, and so the kids and I are happily being roped in. There will be Ukrainian food, a basket raffle, and a "trash to treasure" sale. We'll need to come up with a basket idea, but that's a wonderful project to have! Henry can get some service hours towards what he needs at his Catholic high school, and it's just nice to feel more and more acclimated to the community. 

I've noticed that being around an Eastern liturgy and congregation so much has led to me becoming fairly ambidexterous with my Signs of the Cross. I hold my thumb and first two fingers in the little triangle/Trinity shape that I learned from my Byzantine rite research, and I have to say that I absolutely love that. But I also unconsciously switch between moving my hand from left to right and right to left fairly interchangably. At first, I thought I would stick with my Roman left to right, and later that when I'm attending Divine Liturgy I would switch exclusively to right to left. Neither of those has happened, and my hand moves as inspired each time I do it. 😂 I actually kind of like it, it symbolizes this multi-ritual gal quite well right now.